USDA seeks compromise on GM alfalfa

Tom Vilsack, the USDA Agriculture Secretary, is urging a compromise between parties rooted in an argument over genetically modified foods. In a letter he sent to both those on the pro side of GMO and those vehemently anti-GMO, he called for cooperation.

Vilsack writes, “Surely, there is a better way, a solution that acknowledges agriculture’s complexity, while celebrating and promoting its diversity.”

Vilsack’s pleading comes during legal scuffling between the USDA and the Center For Food Safety and other community watchdog organizations as they battle over genetically modified alfalfa and sugar beets, both of Monsanto origin — the multi-billion dollar GM manufacturers responsible for Roundup Ready pest resistant seeds such as corn, canola and soy at the heart of controversy and films such as The Future of Food and Seeds of Deception.

While seeking an intelligent and adult resolution to a highly sensitive subject such as GM crops, at its core, it is probably a sincere gesture by the former Governor of Iowa, still, there are just some issues that are unlikely to resolve, even when everyone is speaking respectfully. The GM debate, it seems, is one of those discussions. With stacks of studies pointing to the detriments of ongoing use of GM seeds, those opposed to their use seem unlikely to waiver, resisting on a fundamental commitment to preserving nature and human health. And there are those in favor — not just the mega-corporations invested in fiscal rewards — but those who present studies (they fund) that suggest GM crops are the only way to feed the 1+ billion starving people around the globe.

As it stands, the Center for Food Safety has won the case against GM alfalfa, keeping it from circulation until further testing has been conducted as to whether organic or non GMO conventional crops are at risk of contamination, as has happened with other GM crops cross-pollinating. Says Vilsack, “[W] e at USDA are striving to lead an effort to forge a new paradigm based on coexistence and cooperation. If successful, this effort can ensure that all forms of agriculture thrive so that food can remain abundant, affordable, and safe.”

In a news release from The Center for Food Safety, Executive Director Andrew Kimbrell says, ”The only option that will protect organic and conventional alfalfa growers and dairies is for the USDA to deny any approval of GE alfalfa.”

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